St John's Q&A

Friday, January 13, 2006

Seeing the light

So, one more win and the Skins are in the NFC Championship game! It will be a tough game on Saturday, but I feel good about our chances. Been a long time since we've gone deep in the playoffs, but even longer for Seattle (they haven't won a playoff game since '84!). GO SKINS!!
To continue last week's post...I was in darkness around the age of 20 and knew it. I was set to make a new start by moving to California because of the darkness of my life here. My bags were packed and I was ready to go. Then, some things happened...

I finally received an acceptance letter from the University of Maryland (to which I had applied as a transfer) for the fall of '92. Ok, that was a good thing. I unpacked my bags, and started classes at UM. Then, a friend called to ask me to volunteer at his youth group at St Mark's in Hyattsville (next to UM). Three weeks went by, and I never called him back about it. Then, on the UM campus of 35,000 people, who do I run into? My buddy. "So, are you going to help us or not?", he asked. "Yeah, sure, I'd love to. I like working with kids. It'll be good".

That youth group changed my life. We had to teach the kids about Christ and his Church, and I was learning at the same time that I was teaching. The Gospel and the teachings of the Church never really sank in before even though I grew up in a solid Catholic home and went to Catholic school for twelve years. I was ignorant about Christ before '92; 21 years of darkness.

My real Epiphany came one day when I was speaking with my good friend, Fr. Wells, who was the pastor of St. Mark's. Fr Wells and I talked about everything under the sun - religion, politics, sports, etc. So, we're sitting in his office, talking about faith, and I said something to him that shows the ignorance in which I had been living for so long. "Well, you know, Father, the Eucharist is a symbol".

Fr Wells, who was a HUGE believer in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, gave a look of utter disbelief at the words that had just come out of my mouth. The following words of his are ones that I will never forget. "Greg, 'This is my body' means THIS IS MY BODY."

Where did I get the idea that the Eucharist is only a symbol? I didn't know, and didn't really care. I just wanted to investigate this further. I started to go to weekday Mass and hear the words of the Eucharistic prayer. Everything I heard and saw pointed me to the truth: the bread and wine really do become Jesus' body and blood on the altar, and then I receive Him in Holy Communion! I started to adore Jesus in the Eucharist on Thursday mornings for an hour, apologizing for twenty years of ignorance and improper receptions of Holy Communion (don't worry...I also went to Confession). "Jesus, I'm sorry, I didn't know".

Like the wise men, I was called out of darkness to the worship Him. Every Sunday (and every day for those who can make it), we imitate the magi by coming to the altar at Mass and worshipping Jesus in the Eucharist. God calls us out of darkness to his Son's house so that he can manifest himself to us as the Messiah. The magi saw a baby; we see bread and wine. It is the same Jesus, the Savior of the world. He is the light in our darkness.


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